In-Flight Entertainment

In-Flight Entertainment

ISBN: 978-0099546122
Pages: 144

Fifteen short stories, five dealing directly with climate change and all of them describing lives in transit—solitaries in speeding cars, idealists and escapees on bicycles and trains, and frequent fliers winging their way across continents as they count the cost of the in-flight menu and domestic extremism.  “Very modern Britain,” as a woman says in the story in which she launches her young son into his future.

Jonathan Cape, 2010; Vintage, 2011; Knopf, 2012


Up at a Villa
In-Flight Entertainment
Ahead of the Pack
I’m Sorry but I’ll Have to Let You Go
In the Driver’s Seat
The Tipping Point
Geography Boy
Channel 17
The Festival of the Immortals
Diary of an Interesting Year
Charm for a Friend with a Lump


“…After that there’s an invitation to the Sydney Festival to promote my new book, and the usual theatre conference at Berkeley in spring.  All paid for, of course, except the return ticket to Seville, which cost me precisely £11—just about manageable even on an academic’s meagre stipend.  You used to have to join the Foreign Office if you wanted to travel on anything like this scale.  Now everybody’s at it.  The budget airlines arrived and life changed overnight.  Sorry, but it’s true.  The world’s our sweet shop.  We’ve got used to it, we want it; there’s no going back.”
From The Tipping Point


“She had been out there earlier, before breakfast, the whispering air blowing through the hairs on her skin. This sudden lush frondescence was springing up at the rate of an inch a day at least; you could stop and watch it grow like an erection.  Efficient speedy impersonal sex: just what she hadn’t wanted at Lara’s age.”
From Squirrel

“24th August 2040

We met a pig this morning.  It was a bit thin for a pig, and it didn’t look well.

G said, ‘Quick! We’ve got to kill it.’

‘Why?’ I said.  ‘How?’

‘With a knife,’ he said.  ‘Bacon.  Sausages.’

I pointed out that even if we managed to stab it to death with our old kitchen knife, which looked unlikely, we wouldn’t be able just to open it up and find bacon and sausages inside.

‘Milk, then!’ said G wildly.  ‘It’s a mammal, isn’t it?’

Meanwhile the pig walked off.”

From Diary of an Interesting Year


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